Animals are healers and connectors. They are our pets and wild animals have us gazing in awe. Some animals provide emotional support but they aren’t seeing eye dogs or service animals that help us with our daily living tasks. They calm us down and provide a stable comfort when we are stressed, depressed, or feeling manic, or even help with bipolar issues. When we own such a pet who provides emotional support they are called emotional support animals. They are sanctioned as a prescription by licensed mental health practitioners. In order to live or fly with them in otherwise unacceptable situations, we need a letter form a mental heath professional and a new sort of tag must be on the service animal. Can you Get An ESA letter on line?
The latest treatment in mental health care is one that is initially confusing, but then makes complete sense once you put some thought into it. Caring for the many mental health conditions has always been a tricky area of healthcare, due to the highly individual ways that they can affect us. Added to that, drugs for many of these conditions can have nasty side effects or even become addictive with prolonged use.
One treatment that has exploded in popularity lately is a relatively new form of therapy—using our beloved pets to help ease many conditions that can be a struggle to cope with, without turning to heavy prescription drugs. The use of emotional support animals, or ESAs as they're more commonly known, has become increasingly popular over the years, for good reason. Using dogs and cats is a super safe and natural way to care for mental health without any adverse health effects. Let's take a look at how ESAs can help mental health, and the details on whether or not it's compulsory to make an in-person visit to the doctors if you think you could benefit from one.
ESAs: What They Do and How They Do It
If you've heard of ESAs and you have a vague idea of what they do, but don't really know the specifics, let's have a closer look. Emotional support animals are those animals that are tasked with providing a supportive, affectionate presence to their owners that suffer from a mental health condition. These animals have no special or specific training. Instead, their role is to assist their owners in coping with their mental illness on a day to day basis, by providing them with positive effects to their health—both physical and psychological.
If you're already an animal lover, you're likely to be familiar with the amazing effects that our animal friends can have on us. When our pets are near us, whether they're snuggling us, annoying us, or simply just being there for us, we generally feel a whole lot better.
The reasons for this have begun to be researched by scientists, and the initial results are pretty amazing, despite the fact that we knew deep down they were great for our health all along. Pets have been shown to have amazing physical effects on our brain and body that are important in keeping us happy and healthy. One study showed that time spent around pets actually lowers cortisol, a powerful hormone that causes us to feel stress, which also had the astonishing ability to lower blood pressure and therefore make us feel calmer and more relaxed. This effect is so profound that some hospitals now keep therapy dogs in their cardiovascular wards as a way to keep their patients healthy.
Another fascinating effect that pets have on the brain is their ability to help it to produce feel good chemicals, such as oxytocin and dopamine, which assist in keeping our brain chemistry balanced, assisting mental health greatly.
Psychologically, pets can help to make us healthier in a range of ways too. Pets can make us feel connected and provide interaction whenever we need it, boosting our happiness. They encourage us to live healthier lifestyles of routine, connection, and motivation, which can help to boost our mood.
Who Do ESAs Help?
ESAs are a treatment option that has a broad application. If you are or have been diagnosed with one or more of these conditions, then it's extremely likely that you are eligible for an emotional support animal. All that is required is for you to discuss using an ESA with your therapist.
• Alcohol/Substance Dependence
• Anxiety Disorders
• Bipolar Disorder
• Generalized Anxiety Disorder
• Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
• Panic Disorder
• Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
• Social Anxiety
The Simple Processof Getting an ESA
Contrary to popular belief, it's actually relatively easy to obtain an ESA if you are living with a mental health condition. By following a few simple steps, you'll be able to begin using an ESA to treat your mental illness in no time.
The first thing to do is to ensure you receive your diagnosis. ESAs are not available to those that are in good mental health, so if that's you, then you'll need to be satisfied with your pet as they are. Fake emotional support animals are detrimental to the recovery of millions of Americans suffering with mental illness, so it's not a good idea to attempt to go down this road. It's also illegal.
Speak to Your Therapist About Using an Emotional Support Animal
Once you've been diagnosed, you can talk to your therapist about using an ESA to assist in treating your condition. Your therapist will determine whether it's suitable for you, and if so, they may give you some strategies to use your ESA to help support your mental health.
Get Your ESA Letter
If you are prescribed an emotional support animal, then it's essential that you also obtain an ESA letter. Your ESA letter is your official document that allows you to travel (subject to individual airline restrictions) and live with your animal. This is the only document you'll need.
Is it Legal to Get an ESA online?
Yes and no. While there are a handful of legitimate online services facilitating connections between patients who may be unable to attend physical offices and licensed mental health professionals, there are also many that are not what they seem. It is legal to obtain an ESA online, but ensure that you choose an organization that is well respected and offers legitimate ESA letters.
Online ESA Scams
A common scam that many fall prey to online is through companies that offer online 'registration' of emotional support animals. This may sound legitimate, however, there is no U.S.A. requirement for any ESA to be registered. All that is required for an ESA to accompany their owner is a valid ESA letter from their treating practitioner. Another dodgy practice is the sale of emotional support animal vests. While you can choose to put your dog in a vest to inform the public of its role, it is not compulsory, nor required of you when you are out and about with your ESA.
Emotional support animals are amazing at assisting owners in need of support, comfort and affection. Their ability to accompany their owners during travel and in any type of housing is essential for those experiencing mental health difficulties, who may rely on their animals to keep them in a good emotional state, which in turn helps them to cope with their conditions in a much more effective and positive way. While many choose to visit the office of a licensed mental health for their appointment of an emotional support animal, there are other options for obtaining an ESA letter, such as teletherapy and online therapy services, which can be helpful for those struggling with financial, geographical, or mobility-based obstacles to visiting a therapist's office. An ESA can be a life-changing or even lifesaving treatment, so get in contact with a licensed mental health professional without delay if you or someone you love could benefit from this adorable treatment option.
Guest post by Emily Cline and her writing staff at certapet.com.